Monday, December 27, 2010

400th Post

Seems somewhat cool, but not cool enough for me to actually care that I'm going to burn it on something silly such as this. I spent the last 4 days hanging out with Danielle's family, and my mother lands for a 5 day visit in less than an hour. Accordingly there hasn't been, nor will there be, much poker, posting, or blogging happening. Random facts that seem to be true:

1. Lots of people are interested in joining the hand review team. Thanks to everyone who wants to help out. At Pete's suggestion, and due to having so many people who want to help, I may start sending the same hand to multiple reviewers.

2. I am hoping something is wrong with my spreadsheet, because if not the amount of money I made this year playing live poker makes me a very sad panda. On the other hand I guess the actual thing I should be hoping for is to not find any errors and actually be happy that I'm about to receive a fat tax rebate.

3. Live poker has been going well and I'm already chomping at the bit to get back to it, which as I mentioned is kind of bad since I'm not planning to play for the next 7 days.

4. My Black Card appears to have been lost in the Mail Ether.

5. I received my first check from Google for proceeds from my blog advertising. I am averaging $5/month in revenues.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy new years!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chronicles: Part 2

Right into it as per usual:

Laying Down the Ladies

SoCal 20 full game. I open QQ utg, older "soft" looking Asian man calls HJ, HU. He's basically unknown to me but obviously just cold called first in.


I bet/3.

K putting a club draw

I bet/fold.

There's no other way, is there?


Good fold. KJ and A4s are typical fish cold calling hands. You can't counterfeit his two pair or catch up to trips so you have 2 outs almost always. I really can't see any hand he would play this way that you beat given the read.


This hand was super easy as far as both Mr. Mom and I were concerned. Not a whole lot to it; I have a good hand but the action is screaming that I'm beat so I fold.

Big Pot Madness

I'm trying to review 3 hands a day. Can I put you in the rotation?

Live full 20, 3 folds, 3 limps, I limp OTB with 65hh. 6 ways.


4 checks, CO bets, I raise, sb fold, BB 3 bets, 2 folds, CO caps.....

Reads: BB is an old white guy who's not awful. He can be aggro, knows whenish to fold, etc. I guess he can have a FD but it seems unlikely.

CO is basically a fish. He does random things, limps terrible hands, etc. His cap honestly is probably draw heavy. However, 54s is 100% in his range.

Can I continue?

Hm. You're getting... 8:1? With a pair, a straight draw, AND a flush draw? I think you can sign me up.
The BB has to have a pretty big hand, right? I'd expect a c/3b to be a way tighter range than a c/r. Maybe something like 77-TT/JJ (Yes, I think there are players who fit that non-horrible description who might check TT-JJ here), sets, 54, two pair... some 6x hands but imr, is he going to c/3b 86?
I think it's pretty clear you're not going to fare well against either player's range since even the draws are going to be in good shape with either overs, pairs, or straight draws to go along with them. But the thing is that the more they can have overpair and better 6x types of hands, the more 4/5/6 outs you start adding to your hand.
I'd be a little surprised if you had less than somewhere around the high teens equity in the pot. And I'm willing to take the risk of making a decision in the worst case scenario that the turn goes check/bet because I think there's at least as decent a chance that you have an easy decision when it goes bet/call or check/check (or bet/raise too, that's usually going to be an easy decision as well). Your implieds aren't great on two pair/trips I guess but of course they should be excellent if you backdoor your flush.


You speak truths, technically. But my pair is of extremely questionable value, given our shared fear of an overpair or kicker problem, my gutterball could be at a chop and might need to dodge literally half the deck on the river, and the backdoor FD....well that's the bright spot. I thought about the hand more and realized without that I think I have a very clear fold, but with it I wanted to call. 8:1 is quite a price.....but I nit-folded. It's just tough to take two to the face with basically a dirty gutter.

Turn pairs the 3 or the 2, check check, river 5, check bet call, SBs 88 loses to A4o no spades. LOL-gambool!


results oriented = bad fold 5 outs 8:1 plus free look at river. ;-)
Seriously though, I forgot to add that I was thinking this was about the minimum price I'd want to have to call. Like, I don't know what the best pair you limp preflop here is, but I'd guess that your hand is better than 77. And 88. Would you fold those? Is this even a meaningful question?
I mean, I'm not saying your pair is good, just that it gives you a few more outs against the overpair part of SB's range. Admittedly, this puts us in a really crappy spot if it goes bet/call/? turn; bet/fold/? river.


It depends on my mood and table conditions. Sometimes I raise the 65s, and a low as 77. Sometimes I might limp 99.

I think with something like 77-99 I'm pretty committed to getting to showdown on safe boards; I just have the best hand so much more often, I think it makes up for the lack of outs. Thing is with 65 my outs are all filthy, since a 6 might be no good and obviously a 5 makes the board kinda straightening.


I'm one for two on predictions, as the eights fare significantly better than the sevens.

equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 21.527% 18.94% 02.59% 1760929 240860.67 { 6h5h }
Hand 1: 46.638% 45.94% 00.70% 4271728 65218.67 { JJ-66, 33-22, A6s, K6s, 63s-62s, 32s, A6o, K6o, 63o-62o, 32o }
Hand 2: 31.835% 29.48% 02.35% 2741733 218624.67 { 88-22, AsTs, As9s, As8s, As7s, A6s-A4s, As3s, KsJs, KsTs, Ks9s, Ks8s, Ks7s, K6s, Ks5s, Ks4s, Ks3s, QsJs, QsTs, Qs9s, Qs8s, Qs7s, Q6s, Qs5s, Qs4s, Qs3s, JsTs, Js9s, Js8s, Js7s, J6s, Js5s, Js4s, Js3s, Ts9s, Ts8s, Ts7s, T6s, Ts5s, Ts4s, 96s, 86s, 75s+, 63s+, 53s+, 43s, 32s, A5o-A4o, 75o+, 65o, 54o }

equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 19.861% 19.42% 00.44% 2286425 51689.50 { 7c7d }
Hand 1: 43.228% 42.85% 00.38% 5044261 44756.50 { JJ-66, 33-22, A6s, K6s, 63s-62s, 32s, A6o, K6o, 63o-62o, 32o }
Hand 2: 36.911% 36.64% 00.27% 4313680 31599.00 { 88-22, AsTs, As9s, As8s, As7s, A6s-A4s, As3s, KsJs, KsTs, Ks9s, Ks8s, Ks7s, K6s, Ks5s, Ks4s, Ks3s, QsJs, QsTs, Qs9s, Qs8s, Qs7s, Q6s, Qs5s, Qs4s, Qs3s, JsTs, Js9s, Js8s, Js7s, J6s, Js5s, Js4s, Js3s, Ts9s, Ts8s, Ts7s, T6s, Ts5s, Ts4s, 96s, 86s, 75s+, 63s+, 53s+, 43s, 32s, A5o-A4o, 75o+, 65o, 54o }

equity win tie pots won pots tied

Hand 0: 23.556% 22.82% 00.73% 2871250 91994.67 { 8c8d }
Hand 1: 41.027% 40.31% 00.72% 5070375 90655.67 { JJ-66, 33-22, A6s, K6s, 63s-62s, 32s, A6o, K6o, 63o-62o, 32o }
Hand 2: 35.418% 34.94% 00.48% 4395055 60362.67 { 88-22, AsTs, As9s, As8s, As7s, A6s-A4s, As3s, KsJs, KsTs, Ks9s, Ks8s, Ks7s, K6s, Ks5s, Ks4s, Ks3s, QsJs, QsTs, Qs9s, Qs8s, Qs7s, Q6s, Qs5s, Qs4s, Qs3s, JsTs, Js9s, Js8s, Js7s, J6s, Js5s, Js4s, Js3s, Ts9s, Ts8s, Ts7s, T6s, Ts5s, Ts4s, 96s, 86s, 75s+, 63s+, 53s+, 43s, 32s, A5o-A4o, 75o+, 65o, 54o }


I don't know what to say about this hand. I loused it up horribly. In retrospect the flop is an obvious call, even though two players really like their hands. I don't know how on Earth I folded and must have been on tilt at the time. Coach agrees.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chronicles: Part 1

I've decided to go ahead and put up some of the hand reviews I've gotten over the last 2 weeks. So as they like to say on Deuces Cracked, let's jump right into it.

Pocket 6s

I'm going to review as many hands as I can with different people. You mind helping out?

Live 20

Unknown limps CO. SB calls I check 66.

Co is 40s white guy, never seen him before. SB is solid live winner. Raise preflop?


I bet CO calls SB folds.


What's the play against an unknown. If I bet I assume I must fold to a raise. If I check I feel like it's to fold also.


I'd raise preflop, decent chance SB folds after completing the blind.

Flop bet is good, in the 40, I'd c/f the turn. I think most flush draws are going to check behind, but the pot is small, I'm OK with giving up.

In the 20, it's closer to a bet because some people will peel with the most random shit like underpairs, but I think c/f is still probably good.


Well, what underpair hands are you suggesting? I feel like many would raise pre, and those that didn't won't ever fold, right? The only reason to bet IMO is if I have an equity edge v flush draws and whatever else he peels with (which I bet includes raggedy aces).

So I checked to fold, but he checked. River was the other black 4. C/C now? Bet and hope he calls playing the board?


I was suggesting that sometimes in the 20 they'll peel the flop with 22/44/55/77/KhTs/etc. for whatever reason, so it's more important to bet the turn in the 20 than in the 40 (where they are more frequently folding those hands). But in general, I think you're generally smoked on the turn, and c/f'ing is fine.

River you can't check, because he's not bluffing a chop on the river unless he is extremely bad, and even then he will call whatever he is turning into a bluff, so bet and hope to get paid off by ATC imo. Because you like, have a flush draw obv., so he'll call for a chop.


Pete was the reviewer for this hand, and I think he nailed it. I made two mistakes (I didn't raise preflop and for some reason didn't bet the river) which is going to be a theme in these hands; they are all spots in which I was unsure of how to proceed and therefore are going to make me look like a pretty big donkey. I promise I usually do play pretty good. Promise :)

Donkey Kong

I am making a pledge to discuss 3 hands a day with 3 different friends. Can I count you in for one a week or so?

Live 20. Megafish limps MP, BJ raises the HJ, I defend 22, fish calls 3 ways.


I donk both call.

I can't remember the last time I donked here, but protecting my hand is not important and BJ will not air peel the flop. Non-standard but I think it has merits. Collect a peel from the fish drawing dead, BJ probably still raises big hands. I lose a bet from hands he will peel with but the fish won't call two with pure air.

Turn red ace.

I bet hoping to 3 bet.

For the record BJ and I have very limited history, but obvs we both know the other is good.



donking is bad. bj is cbetting his whole range 3handed. you're probably only donking a strong polarized range that lets him play well against u.

what do protection and bj's airpeel have to do with it?


Protection: I'm not concerned with facing the fish with 2 cold. She will peel for 1 bet with literally ATC, but for 2 she needs to have some reasonable (describable) hand.

Airpeel: BJs range is pretty wide. I think by c/r he bet/folds a fair bit of it. Like I guess the question is does he peel hands like T9s and A7 or not. My gut says he won't.

Obviously this is a single use line that relies on him having never seen it before. My thought is that I have a chance to get 6 small bets in the pot a fair bit by donk/3, and c/r will often result in getting exactly one.

As played....turn?


sure bj folds a fair bit when you cr but you get the cbet out of him at least

when you donk he just folds a lot and you dont get anything out of him

turn seems standard


More I think about it you're probably right. I wasn't really taking into account the times he's like "haha I fold" which will happen a fair bit.

Do you ever donk spots like these multiway? Like 4+ handed?


hu and 3handed never without a specific read that they check back often (non existent online)

4handed+ sure, altho depends on position and tendencies of pfr


Thanks. The BJ folded the turn when I bet, so I'm thinking he air-peeled something anyway.


da beej


The reviewer for this hand was Big Bad Babar, and again he's spot on. I tried to get clever here and execute a single use "donk of death" line against a talented young villain, but I got it wrong. My thinking was that he'd raise with big hands and call with crappy ones, so that I'd get to 3 bet when he was strong and get the same number of bets when he was weak, while simultaneously trapping the fish in the middle for as many bets as possible. The flaw in my thinking is that my opponent should be able to just fold to my donk with a lot of his pure cheese ball hands and basically own me. As it turned out it didn't matter a whole lot what line I chose, as he peeled the flop and folded the turn. This hand got me thinking about donking in general, and I do think it has merits in a lot of multiway spots, ones in which the preflop raiser is likely to check a decent portion of his range. But 3 handed against a guy who's betting 104% of the time just isn't the time to get silly.

Simple Blind Defense

I'm making a commitment to review 3 hands a day with 3 different people. Can I count you in for 1 a week or so? This ones easy....

Live 20, CO opens seat 9. I defend A7o in BB in seat 5. I give seat numbers cause it's one of those spots where he's in the CO but it "feels" like he's MP cause of physical positioning. He is basically unknown to me (I'm new here), but not a fish and Asian. Range likely widish, but no where as big as it "should" be.

862cc I have no trump

I c/c


I c/c


I bet to fold

Classic WA/WB. Online I c/r this turn all day, but against a live player I can't imagine 3 bets going in good. Thoughts? Also, do you fold some turns, like a red picture card maybe?


Yeah I'm down for the hand review...

I like this hand. Preflop is super standard. Flop c/c is fine. Against nits I fold because they either have a pair or a bigger ace. But against an unknown Asian it's a peel. Turn sometimes I donk because so many players check behind 76, 98, etc. here and they have 5 outs. But since he most likely has a lot of air that he could double-barrel, a turn check is fine.

When he bets, we are either raising or calling. Since raising usually folds out all worse hands and never folds out better ones, your WA/WB plan is fine. Only the presence of the flush draw makes me want to raise to charge him; also, smarter trickier LAGs will often project their own play onto us and think we're FOS with a flush draw, but (at this casino) 20 players are more straight forward so your c/r will be given a lot of credit (and they'll folds hands like JJ etc.). That tilts me towards a call.

The river donk is fine because hardly anyone triple barrels (once you call the turn A, he knows you're never folding a made hand so he will check behind all of his air and weak hands); you've gotta get a bet in if you're ahead. And he'll never raise a worse hand for value. So I think b/f is perfectly okay. I take different lines against different players I know, but for an unknown Asian this works okay.


P.S. I fold pretty much all turns that don't give me a pair or OESD.


Wow super thoughtful good review. Thanks. I think a leak I need to quickly plug is not giving people credit for a hand on the second barrel in this game. Like this guy opens UTG and I defend 44 (meh) and the flop is Q73r. I call one time and fold to the turn barrel; I just have to trust him to take a free river with ace high. Is that reasonable?

On this hand I honestly think c/f might be comparable to c/c. Lol they are just so passive on the river, only the flush draw deters me.


The reviewer here is the illustrious Private Joker, internet celebrity and destroyer of souls. For once I seem to have gotten a hand sorta right, but it shows a general leak that may have crept into my game from playing 60K hands on the internet. Online, in a button v big blind situation you need a pretty solid reason to fold ace high. In a live 20 game, the opposite is true; you need a pretty solid reason to show down no pair. It's a big leak, I think, to just willy nilly loosey goosey show down ace high in these games. There are times for it, and admittedly this could be one of them, but in general I need to make sure I have solid reasons for getting to showdown without any fruit.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Round 2

BAL raises in EP and Mr. Lee (lol do these people have homes?) 3 bets. Like the dummy that I am, living in unicorn fantasy land, I cap jacks. Even assuming BAL's range is missing AA and giving me the benefit of destroying them postflop with my position, this is inexcusable on my part. But I mean...jacks! Both call and hilarity ensues:


They check I bet they call. The turn is less than ten, and they both check again. I bet and BAL raises. Mr. Lee agonizes over a super standard lay down with what he later claims to be KK (how does this happen? He runs KK into AA, gets a Jack high flop, and loses 1 small bet post flop) and I 3-bet, praying for a river ace to unlock the jackpot. Sadly we miss and merely collect the pot, with BAL muttering "how this happen, every day pocket ace lose".

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let Me Tell You a Story

Live 20 can, from time to time, bring one great joy. My hind-parts are still smarting from running AKhh into AA on a 875hh board, during which my opponent narrowed his range to AA preflop by capping, but I obliged his silly c/r/4 line since we were four handed and obviously I wanted to chop up crazy tat man and bitchy Asian lady. So we are still kinda feelin' that one, with BAL just doing what she does best; bitching. She's one of those hard-core addicts who have been playing for maybe decades who used to kind of avoid getting destroyed but anymore is probably lucky to lose less than $80/hour. She has responded by getting extremely grumpy, I guess.

So we are a few hands further down the Long Run and she calls for a setup, as is her custom, but it's slow in coming as is also customary and an extra hand gets dealt, one that, were setup girl Johnny on the spot, would have stayed in the deck, never to be seen and forever lost to the world. But setup girl is seldom Johnny on any spot, let alone THE spot. And why should she be? She's a chip runner for Christ's sake! He job description is basically to bend over and flash some cleavage whenever a customer runs out of bullets. White collar she is decidedly not.

Anyway, our rogue hand enters the Long Run, and I must say does so in memorable fashion. BAL limps up front and yours truly raises the QTcc. The blinds both call, with Mr. Lee (lol every card room in America has at least one kindly old man known as Mr. Lee) declaring he will play his rush. But wait! BAL back-raises! I call, the SB calls, and Mr. Lee chastises BAL, asking why she did such a thing, then calls by dropping 4 chips directly in front of her and saying "bad beat".

Q 8 6 with a club

They all check, and for some reason I bet. Both blinds call, BAL raises, and now it is me Mr. Lee is displeased with. I call, so do they, and the pot has officially attained "hudge" status. Quickly now, what's the best card in the deck?


My lonely pair has suddenly become a double gutted flush draw! Aiyah, Mr. Lee. Ai-fucking-yah. BAL bets and as I call cannot resist. The entire table has been discussing which color her aces are for two streets now. "Bad beat coming" escapes my lips. Mr. Lee calls, and setup girl watches patiently from behind the dealer, waiting to change BAL's fortunes all too late. I mean, how can I miss? I have 20 outs to crack the bullets; it has already been decided, the card merely waiting to enter the Long Run.


BAL checks, calls, cusses out setup girl and immediately takes an out button. Mr. Lee reminds her that she could have just won the pot preflop. She is of course not amused and mutters something at him that likely is not flattering in some language neither he nor I can understand.

Chronicles Intro

I've made a commitment to review three hands that I have played with 3 different people for every day that I play live poker. So far I'm roughly on pace, and have about 10 reviews that I'm considering putting up here. My main concern with doing so is giving away too much information about the way I think and play. In the past this would never have concerned me, but that's mostly because thought I was invincible. Now that I'm quite sure that's not the case, I'm a little hesitant to be so open about everything. I'll make a decision soon.

Yesterday was one of those days that should have been awesome but ended up being kind of frustrating. I lost like a million (60) bets online in the morning, then came out to play and won 3 racks over the first 5 hours or so. So I'm happy as a clam but need to play past traffic and you know the rest; I lost two of the racks, and all of a sudden on a day where I had 5 racks of chips I basically broke even. Meh, gotta re-adjust to it I suppose.

Monday, December 13, 2010

You Just Can't Beat This

Pound for pound, live 20 players have to currently be creating the softest games you can find. I'm quickly remembering why I took so long to ever get serious about Internet poker; it's just so hard compared to these games. The rake is oppressive unless you play quite high, tables generally have at least a few solid players, and often I wonder if I'm even a winner. This live 20 situation, however, is just so easy. They make huge mistakes; they are extremely exploitable; they just plain stink.

So far my return has been so so, but I'm confident I'll be booking more wins than losses in the near future and am more confident than ever that if my current situation stays viable (I don't go kookoo from the commute and the games don't die) I'll make it to the Commerce 40 yet.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Back in Action

I have returned to my roots, so to speak. I've played live 20/40 the last two days and (gasp) actually enjoyed myself. I ran pretty well (up a rack total), posted, some hands, renewed some friendships, and in general am pleased with my decision. More details to come, but it's looking like a hybrid strategy is going to be the plan moving forward.

One thing I will say is that playing 60K hands online has sharpened my focus and made me appreciate the ability to zero in on a single hand at once and try to play it super duper perfectly every single time. Kind of fun, and something I shouldn't have had to 8 table on stars to figure out but whatever. Hide your chips degens, I'm a comin' for them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Worst Online Day Ever

According to PTR I just posted my worst day ever online. Given that for a fair bit of the day I was seated at some 1/2 tables I think this was quite a feat. More impressive is that I played 2200 hands and broke even for the last 900 apparently, meaning I basically lost 150 bets in my first 1300 hands. Nothing went right, lost every pot, yada yada yada....

I have to admit, things are looking grim for me keeping this online business going. For the first few weeks it was kind of fun to sit around the apartment and click buttons all day, but now it's getting old and I've kind of stopped winning. Even if things go very well the rest of the month (I log 30K hands and win handily) it's not going to turn out very pretty. I'm considering gutting it out, or perhaps becoming what everyone eventually becomes, an online/live hybrid player.

This Legislative Business

Harry Reid has dropped his push to attach legislation to the great tax cut compromisation cluster fuck 2010 (tm) to "legalize" online poker, whatever exactly that means. I've obviously been following these developments with a bit of interest over the past week or so, but the truth of the matter is that really nobody knew anything. Here are some random facts that I believe:

1. The status quo for online poker is not sustainable for much longer. The lack of basic consumer protection (lol bye bye eWallet dollars) can only go on for so long before the vast majority of people (the fish) just say fuck this I quit. IMR, how many hoops are the people who lose tons of money on these sites going to jump through?

2. Some sort of legislation is needed, and some sort of legislation will eventually happen.

3. The proposed "blackout period" in the bill would have been an unmitigated catastrophe for the entire industry.

So for now though, the status quo is going to continue. To be honest I just realized when I saw the most recent news that I was actually disappointed. Part of me was hoping the bill was going to pass and I was going to have to quit playing online and either make or break myself in the Commerce 40. Things started off so well for me online, but honestly the more I play the more I am thinking that it's just not a long term solution. The games get so tough so quickly, I'm routinely finding myself in 2/4 games on FullTilt where I'm looking around saying well that guy isn't very good and that other guy has leaks and then there are those 5 guys who win according to PTR and just for crying out loud people it's 2/4. Aren't there supposed to be megafish running around? I mean sure a lot of the players are bad and whatever, but as you move up even a little bit you run into players who either seriously study the game and know what they're doing, or according to cold harsh Darwinian logic by way of still having money in their accounts are reasonably not awful. I dunno how much longer I can pay $10/rake per 100 hands to try and win $4.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Proposition

Danielle and I just cancelled a trip to San Francisco this weekend because as usual we got too busy during the holiday season and just can't justify spending 4 days up there. For the record I am turning into one of those people that simply don't like the holidays, and may eventually end up just skipping the entire thing altogether one of these years, Tim Allen style (it'd probably about as entertaining my way). There's just so much.....expectation. I dunno, I never used to be like this. Anyway, to the point:

We had to cancel a room reservation for one night in San Francisco, and are on the hook for it if they don't manage to book the room. The details are:

Inn On Castro (we specifically booked The Red Room), on Saturday December 11th. We were charged $186, which we won't be getting back unless someone else books the room. My offer is simply to split the price of the room with anyone interested, so please get in touch with me if you or someone you know might be interested in taking his/her sweetie to a bed and breakfast for one evening in the heart of San Francisco.

In poker news.....I am not happy. This month so far has been a bit of a train wreck. I've only played 9000 hands, 7000 of them at 2/4 at which I've won comfortably (although I am currently on a 100 or so bet downer at that level), but the 2000 hands I have played above 2/4 have resulted in an impressive loss of $1000 (given that 80% of them were at merely 3/6 I think losing 50 cents per hand is a pretty solid achievement). I'm also pretty sure that my computer setup is causing me ergonomic problems, primarily from keeping my hand on the mouse for hours at a time. I'm not really sure what to do about that, but I guess I could look into using only the keyboard but jeeze that'll suck so much. So yeah, nothing really good to report on that front.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Turkey Report

The last week (basically) I was home in Pennsylvania, basically just hanging out with my parents and marveling at how much things have changed over the past 10 years. I don't make it back there as much as I'd like, and every time I do I am amazed at some of the new developments. The primary one this time was the introduction of a great deal of gamble to my home state. My dad and I visited the Meadows Casino Saturday night, and I have to say that I was impressed with every aspect of the operation except (big surprise here) the actual games being spread in the poker room. The parking garage reminded me of Foxwoods. The casino floor itself made me feel comfortable, like I was somewhere on the strip in Vegas (except for all the people wearing massive winter coats). There were slot machines freaking everywhere. There were 4 craps tables going, two of them $10. Lots of blackjack and other table games were going, with higher minimums than I expected. The building itself was nice. There were bars everywhere, and a food court type thing just like you'd expect. The bowling alley was pretty nice, although we didn't get to bowl because there was an hour wait. And the poker room itself was very nice and seemingly well run; there was just the small matter of there being practically no action whatsoever. They had 26 tables, and my estimate of their usage was as follows (and it was 5:30 pm on a Saturday...not prime time but certainly not ghost shift either):

13 empty tables
4 tournament tables
3 two/four limt hold 'em games
5 one/two no limit hold 'em games
1 two/five no limit hold 'em game

They had interest lists for a lot of other games, but it was pretty clear that nothing above 3/6 limit or 2/5 no limit really ever ran. My dad got to watch me play a single orbit of 1/2 no limit before we booked it out of there (good grief 10 handed baby nl is probably the worst game you could ever play in a casino). All in all I give the casino high marks, but I fear they will never reasonably sized limit games going and that's just kind of a shame. Besides this little trip the whole time I was home I played only enough poker to get my last two days credit for iron man for the month (so something like 600 hands), which was actually relaxing, but perhaps a bit much as I'm finding myself having trouble getting back into it today. On a related note full tilt made some more changes to their rewards program, all of which are 100% just good for me and other customers (they added a 500 point per day level to ironman, adding ways to qualify for gold or iron in a month, and brought back ironman plus, where you get bonus medals for hitting 1000 or 2000 points in a day....both changes are something for nothing if I'm not mistaken).

While I was off eating turkey (and all other manner of tasty foods....somehow I weighed only 164 pounds this morning, proving that weight gain, like weight loss, really is an endurance matter how bad you are, you simply can't gain much weight in a week. If you could, I would have just done it. Trust me) Bellatrix was busy in her nerdery running limit hold'em tournament simulations, the upshot of which you can check out on her blog (which the observant will note has been linked over on the left in the "Of Which I am a Fan" section for a while now). She is promising a several part series, interesting stuff IMO.

And in closing, apparently a friend of mine from back home invented the NeoCube, and a very good friend of mine is working with him to market/sell the suckers. I played with one while I was home and have to say it was pretty entertaining. Having one at a casino to keep your hands busy while playing poker might not be a bad use actually. For me for now it's back to the grind; I'm hoping to play 50K hands this month, but realistically there is a lot Holiday stuff going on and it's' gonna be tough.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Month in Review

I'm heading home for Thanksgiving tomorrow for about a week, so the month of November is basically wrapped. I'll probably play a little while I'm home, but nothing like what I've been doing the rest of the month. The numbers for month one of "Jesse plays poker on the internet" are extremely promising. I managed to log over 44K hands in 24 days, taking only one day completely off and in general booking over 2K hands a day during the week (days that I considered full time). I'm getting very good about keeping focused when I play and quitting when I feel like I might not be at my best, and that has led to my rate of play slowing over the course of the month. I've also found that just like in other endeavors of my life (developing software, playing sports, etc) most of what I'm going to accomplish for the day gets accomplished before 1pm. After that first initial spurt of productivity it gets harder and harder for me to maintain a high level of effort and focus. Obviously this was horrible for live play and is part of the reason moving down here was such a disaster for me. At Bay 101 I could show up at 10:30 and reasonably expect to be in a good game by 11am. Down here that just wasn't the case, and I think my results suffered for it. Playing at Commerce before 2pm was just silly, and realistically it makes way more sense to be a night owl down here than it ever did up north. Anyway....

The "lifestyle" has pros and cons, and if I'm going to continue it I'm going to have to make some changes/concessions to keep myself sane. It's fun to work from your dining room table; for a while. But try doing it 20 days in a row and things start to get a little bit dull. By nature I'm a social person, and I enjoy being around people (not necessarily the jerks you see at Commerce, but you get the jist). I've found myself seeking out as many social situations as possible and waiting almost anxiously for Danielle to come home for the day so that I can just have some normal interactions with someone. So I need to find some ways to get out of the house, and I'm going to start with a winter softball season in January and February. One thing I definitely don't miss is driving. My car has basically sat idle for an entire month, and I realized that that alone has saved me so so so much, and not just money either. I figure in 3.5 weeks I have avoided over 1000 miles of driving, which just off the cuff saves me several hundred dollars in gas/maintenance, 40+ hours of actual time, countless amounts of stress, and some unknown number of millimorts (let's face it, the last two years if suddenly one day you were told simply that "Jesse is dead" the odds that it happened while driving down the freeway would have been 10:1 in favor or better).

All in all I'd say the first month went substantially better than I expected, and even so good as to be deemed a success (honestly I thought it would be a failure). In terms of this being an actually viable way for me to make a living, well, we're not there yet, but we are certainly close. Here are some cold hard numbers about my actual play:

As I said, I logged 44K+ hands. Over half of those (23K) were logged at 2/4, at which I was simply not allowed to lose a hand under any circumstances. My WR for the month in those hands was 2.7 bets per 100 hands. The bulk of the rest of my hands (18K) were played at 3/6, at which I was quickly smoted every single time I put together anything that resembled a winning streak. In the 18K 3/6 hands I managed a WR of .2 bets per 100. The rest of my hands were played at 5/T and 1/2, but since we're only talking about 3K hands total it's not really worth reading anything into the results (for the record I lost about 20 bets at 5/T and won a little bit at 1/2). For those of you who don't want to piece all the math together to figure out how much I won, basically just go with "he played 23K hands of 2/4 and won 2.7 bets per 100 but broke even across all other games". That's basically accurate, and doesn't really net out a viable salary. However, there's a little more to it. First of all, rakeback. According to HEM my MGR number for the month is about $4400; I get 27% of that back, so we're talking something like $1200. Between playing during Happy Hour and my 2X points for black card status, my 44K hands resulting in me booking somewhere in the neighborhood of 80K full tilt points. The $5K bonus in the black card store sells for 1.1M points but involves a single MGR hit so let's say these are worth about $300. Then finally there is the Ironman program which is not completely dead; making Iron this month gets me a $100 bonus and 200 medals (which I think is basically worth like 10K more points so ok not really very much). The point is that when you add all this stuff up, I managed to make about $4K from the comfort of my home playing cheeseburger stakes in my very first month. Like I said....success. I ran hotter than the sun at 2/4, but also broke even over the 20K hands I played at other stakes. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that those two things basically cancel out to me running about average. If I can up the volume by 30% and up the effective stakes and WR by another 30% all of a sudden we're looking at me being able to make $6K/month without wearing pants. I could do worse. In closing, I will leave you with some pictures. First, all my hands:

And second, just my 2/4 hands, because that graph looks really, really impressive:

Thanks to everyone who's been supportive this month, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving with whomever you decide to spend it with.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On Rush LHE Tunamelts

So Bella, I'm inclined to agree with you and Patrick because your argument makes perfectly logical sense. You have an edge, more hands is more edge, etc, etc. The logic is pretty unassailable. I have several problems though:

1. No matter what, it seems like eventually in a LHE tournament after about level 4 if you ever lose 3 hands in a row you are basically out. Like no matter how hot you've run to that point, if you have been around for 5 hours in the WSOP limit hold 'em events and all of a sudden you lose 3 hands at showdown in a row, you're going to be crippled.

2. The Big Potato is a smart dude. I can't recall him being flat out wrong about anything, so I'm hesitant to declare him so on this point. He and I once had a discussion about tournaments where we sorta concluded the following from our limited observations. In NL tournaments as you look around later and later the players get more and more solid. In LHE tournaments as you look around later and later the field seems to get polarized. Super aggressive players who have run well are alive, and super conservative tight players are hanging on. The "solid" guys (the equivalent of like TAG or maybe LAGTAG winners online) seem to die out pretty quickly. It feels like this could happen because their games are built around having infinite (for all intents and purposes) bankrolls that seek out every ounce of value.

3. The limiting case argument is pretty strong here. I'm sure you're familiar with the idea, but for those who I have confused by making up a phrase and pretending it is common knowledge just now....I like to think of problems in terms of the limiting case. If you're not sure what will happen at a certain value N or as N increases or decreases, make N equal zero or infinity and see what happens there. Unless f(N) is complex (specifically with a complicated second derivative I think) this often gives you an idea if more N is a good or bad thing. Well in the case of this limit hold 'em tournament, there are two limiting cases:

A. You play infinite hands on a fixed bankroll.
B. You play zero hands on a fixed bankroll.

You can see what's going on here. In case (A) you can make a strong argument that you will go broke, since the stakes will be increasing rapidly, much faster than the expected rate at which you can accumulate chips. But that's not really that interesting and a little hard to wrap your head around. What's easy to see is that if you and your 8 opponents take 5 hours to play the first hand, you will finish in places 2 through 10 most of the time. Supposing there were 750 or so entries, like the FTOPS event we were discussing, even 10th place is obviously better than expectation for even the best player in the world (and especially for me lol). So if playing zero hands is better than playing the expected number of hands, we need a complicated derivative, and I don't really see how we're going to get one.

4. I like to argue with smart people and write interesting things and letting something like this go would be less fun than writing about it :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random Topics on Poker

Back when I lived in the North lands I had a core group of friends that had lunch once a month. My claim to fame at these lunches was losing 3 of the first 4 flips for the check (4 to 6 handed no less), and I still actually have managed to attend a couple since I moved down south thanks to gracious scheduling considerations from Pete (he actually joked last time that I was easier to schedule around than the ceo). I've been doing alright keeping this tradition alive down here and today held another gathering at BJs Brewhouse. This lunch drew the largest crowd yet, with a total of seven serious poker players showing up from all over the great Las Angeles area. In all I was at the restaurant for 3 hours and felt like we talked about a lot of stuff that could make an interesting blog post, so here we go.

At 11:05 the Big Potato texted to alert me that he had already arrived. The man is chronically early, partially because that's just the way he is and mostly because if I worked 10pm to 6am I'd be pretty likely to show up early for anything labeled lunch also. Imagine if someone invited you to a dinner event that started at 11pm; you wouldn't be late, right? So I closed up 2p2 and skedaddled over there and he and I shot the shit about Hawaiian Gardens and how they've dropped the 40 game down to 30 with a 1/3rd kill and yada yada yada. Eventually everyone else filtered in, and all told we ended up with seven brave souls and a bunch of funny stories and extremely thoughtful points of view which I'll now list in basically random order.

Joe Tall is a family man now, and trying to player serious poker on the internet while managing a child's going to bed routine seems to be one of the more interesting parts of his daily routine. As an aside every time I try to schedule one of these lunches both Joe and the Big Potato are supporters 1A and 1B. Their response is typically near instant, no matter how I ask them, and it is invariably something to the effect of "Yes let's do lunch just tell me when and where woo hoo!" I think this is because both of them don't get enough opportunities to interact with people, socially, who have a reasonable clue of what exactly it is that they do for a living. I feel exactly the same way, which is why I set up the lunches. Joe fancies himself a stud stud these days (I think he is exploiting an efficiency in the market....young guns just never really got into stud and therefore I imagine the game has not progressed as much as limit hold 'em has over the past five years....there are some interesting points about stud, like the fact that you'd think you couldn't really mass multi-table because the action is more complex, but in fact since it's an ante game you can have up 4 tables and just sit out of two of them anytime you want without missing "free" hands) and one night recently found himself sitting at a game with one of the legendary Chinese collusion specialists and a mega-fish who was sitting out. Joe's intention was merely to sit in the seat, put his daughter to bed, and come back to see if the game had managed to fill up. But a recent software change had eliminated the "auto-post" option (it used to be that you could be sitting in but not auto-posting your antes, which IMO is completely retarded....if you don't want a hand, you're sitting out) and he found himself instantly dealt a hand huhu against the collusion guy. The door cards aren't even off the deck and his wife is calling to him "She's ready!" and Joe is basically like "crap". So he clicks "sit out next hand" and proceeds to execute the most flawless hit 'n run in the history of poker (against a known cheater no less). He is dealt split jacks and puts in some action, then makes jacks and 7s on 4th street against a guy showing like a 4 and 3 who just calls. With five cards out he has a full house (with nothing but a pair of 7s showing) and the other player proceeds directly to apeshit. They cap it on 5th, 6th, and 7th with the other player drawing stone dead, having somehow someway made a wheel on 5th street. All the while during this series of clicking Joe's wife is calling to him wondering why he is being such a bad father. The instant the pot is shipped to him (I don't even know how many bets...what like 35? I mean we're talking about a $1000 HUHU 15/30 stud pot here people) he insta-sits out. LOL, nice hand Joe.

Joe also shared with us the story of the great "Cole South Dom Freeroll", the basics of which are this. Joe Tall goes to Vegas and hangs out with many ballers. Joe Tall repeatedly loses flips for dinner, to the tune of $3300, losing something like 7 out of 10 and 5 in a row. His wife is not pleased, so when he goes to super fancy dinner with NL ballers he declares that he is buying out before they even crack the wine list. They finish dinner and everyone is not having him buying out. Cole South offers a freeroll; if Joe doesn't buy out of the flip AND Cole ends up losing, he will buy 2 bottles of Dom for the entire table, nearly doubling the check. After four cards are removed from contention it is of course down to Joe Tall and Cole and....bink, Joe Tall ships the free roll and they drink Dom for an hour.

A good portion of the rest of the lunch involved some interesting poker discussion, but mostly at a high level on things such as the state of the market/industry/LA poker scene, ways for betting yourself, etc etc (Joe's stud hit 'n roll was the most detailed hand we discussed). Here are some of the points:

1. Bellatrix and the Potato debated the merits of intentionally playing extremely slowly in a rush poker tournament. Bellatrix argued that if you have an edge you should try to play as many hands as possible to maximize it. The Potato argued that in any tournament you are basically over-betting your bankroll every time you play a hand, and therefore it should make sense to slow down as much as you can. I think I agree with the Potato, but am not 100% sure.

2. Joe Tall explained his theory that online poker is both a gift and a curse. It's always there, always available, which is a gift in that it allows you to do what I've been up to the past three weeks (play 2000 hands a day from my dining room table), but a curse in that you can get totally wrapped up in it or play when you're not at your best extremely easily. I feel that so far I've been managing online poker very well. When I drove to Commerce and things started off poorly or the game wasn't as good as I hoped or whatever, I never, ever left. Like I just drove fucking 45 minutes to get there, traffic is terrible, what am I gonna do, turn around and go home? Sure I'd try to take tilt breaks and whatever but there's only so much that walking around a casino can do for your state of mind. But online the game is always there, and you can always get to it. If you're on tilt, shut the shit down and take a break. It's truly wonderful. At the same time just today I realized that it is a bit of a curse, in that online poker is like sweeping. I hate sweeping, easily my least favorite of menial house chores, and you know why? You're never done. Ever. If you're sweeping up the kitchen guess what? There is always a little more shit on the floor you haven't gotten yet. Same with the deck. There is always one more leave, one more piece of dirt, one more pebble, one more everything. Online poker is like that; there is always more action, and you've gotta be careful to get the right amount.

3. My dopelganger and I discussed the Commerce 40 at length after lunch ended, and I postulated my theory that playing the Commerce 20 tends to make one "sloppy". Basically you can simply get away with a ton of shit and none of it matters because everyone is so terrible that you're never going to get punished. Basically 75% of the hands you play will reach the following point; you raise preflop, some people call, you bet the flop, some people call, and they all check to you on the turn. That's it. And in 20/40 just blindly barreling the turn really is often fine because they peel so light that even if you're sitting there with a naked ace high your bet still really is sorta for value and if they check/raise you they have the stone nuts so whatever, just bet. But at 40 when they peel the flop they usually have SOMETHING and if they raise the turn they MIGHT be bluffing so you really can't just blindly bet. He turned me on to a new series on DC in which Mike L and Death Donkey walk through hands from the Commerce 40 (check it out it's quite good). He seems a lot like I was 18 months ago, with something like 700 hours of live 20 logged and the distinct impression that it is completely impossible to lose. Best of luck dopelganger :)

4. Primetime asked Joe "What do you do for a living?" and Joe humbly said he had founded a business. When Primetime pressed it was eventually explained to him that this extremely tall guy named Joe wearing a redsox hat was Joe Tall, co-founder of Deuces Cracked. Primetime was stunned; it was hilarious.

5. I postulated my theory of poker mistakes and the lifetime heater while we were disparaging The Grinder (whose wife is apparently spewing off thousands in the Commerce 20 these days and complaining when her husband only comes in 3rd in a gigantic tournament). My theory of the lifetime heater is explained in the extremely long rambling post above, but in short it's possible to run like the very wind itself for basically your entire live limit hold 'em career because you can simply just flop too many sets. Sets are like nuclear bombs in limit hold 'em. They are a monstrous made hand, and hold draw basically as strong as four flush or four card straight against ANYTHING that somehow manages to be ahead of them. So if you're running hot for weeks or months or years because you always flop a set, you're going to keep playing every single pocket pair no matter what happens in front of you. This lead to a discussion on the three dimensions of a poker mistake:

Is it definitely a mistake?
How big of a mistake is it?
Is it a variance increasing mistake?

Basically if you and I watch a player do something, we could be quite sure that he's making a mistake. What's important, however, is to quantify the magnitude of the mistake. If someone cold calls first in with 22 in a limit hold 'em game, that's probably a mistake. But if he does it in very early position in a game in which he's likely to get a few cold callers, it might not be. If the game is off the chain and nobody ever folds, it's probably not even a mistake. And it's definitely a variance increasing mistake, which means that doing it increases your chances of hitting the life time heater. The Potato basically proclaimed that "all those vietnemese guys" who sit in all the mid stakes games around LA are just like this. They don't have a clue why they're doing what they're doing, and they make a ton of very small mistakes, so the tendency is to label them as fish and not think too hard about beating them. But they're actually better than average players who do a lot of stuff right.

6. This one's just mine that I thought of today (while sweeping the kitchen). The poker ecosystem really is like a bunch of aquariums. There are lots of separate ones (different games, casinos, websites, etc) and it's important that some of them be kept relatively shark-free so that the fishes in them can get just a little bigger and stronger and eventually move to bigger and better aquariums. Think about it....who gets to the 100/200 game at Commerce? There are guys who grind their way up the hard way, guys who are independently wealthy, and fish who lifetime heater their way through the 20, 40 and 60 games. For the long term health of the game it is extremely important that some aquariums be available for new players to cut their teeth and occasionally catch lighting in a bottle and get way over their heads, bringing tons of money up from the 20 game all the way to the 200/400 or even above.

That's about all I'm going to write for now, as I really need to get back to the business of being a professional poker player.


Playing online poker really has taught me that all the vagaries of live poker that troubled me so (losing 4 racks in a day, losing for 2 weeks straight, etc) really were just silly. You can't truly internalize the variance you're dealing with until you put in big volume online and take a look at the shit that happens to you, both good and bad. Here is an example of some of the good, my most recent hands at 2/4.

I mean really, look at this thing. This is 400o hands (over 100 hours of live poker) during which I was simply not permitted to lose a hand. I won 9 bets per 100 while fighting through extremely oppressive rake. Imagine if you were playing live poker twice a week for three hours at a clip and this happened to you for four months. You'd be absolutely hooked for life. Anyway, just wanted to put up a fun graph, cue the doom switch immediately.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jesse Plays Triple Draw; Hilarity Ensues

My life has become a lot less interesting since I quit playing live poker 2 weeks ago. Literally hours will go by where the only words I speak are aimed at one of my pets. And they usually don't listen to me (for the record our household contains two dogs, a blind cat, and a snake...perhaps I can write a post about them someday). Today was another frustrating day online, with me shooting out of the gate like a rocket ship (up 120 bets, 80 of them in the course of 250 hands, by 11am), and then slowly but surely coasting back down to Earth until a few minutes ago when I finally closed up shop and checked my results, realizing that for the day I was up nine (9) bets total. Things have been going better lately in terms of winning at 3/6, and today I was actually permitted to win a small sum at 5/T (despite losing a THIRTY FIVE bet pot when a guy spiked his set of jacks on the turn to crack my kings....the reason the pot got so large is that since we were still five handed on the turn I decided to put in a 3 bet...he obviously capped it up with the nuts and at that point I realized I was getting like 50% more than the price I needed to draw at my own 2 outter. Then the dude with jacks promptly got rivered).

Where was I? Ah yes, life being boring. So in order to combat this boringness I went to the Bike on Friday night because Bellatrix promised me there would be 3/6 mixed game with the 2p2 Poker Cast guys. So I rolled up around 4pm and proceeded with my phony pro routine that the Big Potato taught me a few weeks back at the Bike. That day he just showed up, pressed a few palms, settled a few debts, and boom was out the door to Commerce where he assured me he did the same thing. You see it's kind of (gasp) relaxing to be at a casino and not feel pressure to get into a game and get action. This was me at the Bike on Friday. I hung out with the Potato (again, at the casino, not making the gambool), talked to Babar's boy (who doesn't have a nickname yet) from Vegas and even hung out with Joker for a little while waiting for Bellatrix to show up and introduce me to the pokercast guys who were pretty obviously hanging out by the bar but I mean I didn't know a single one of them so what am I gonna do just roll up and be like "Hi my name is Jesse"? Well I guess I could...eventually Joker and I walk over there after he owns some poor schmuck in the 20/40 game with 6s on like a QJ94-K board or some such absurdity where he turned his hand into a bluff on the river and he introduces me to the guys because he's fucking Joker he knows fucking e'rybody. The crew has created started a 7-game 3/6 mix with the following rotation:

Triple Draw
211 Poker (actually spread at the Bike I shit you not)
2nd Best Hold 'Em (I have developed a theory of how to crush this game)
Omaha 8
$20 PLO flips

This wasn't the exactly order, but it was something like that and the game had just started up so I sauntered into a seat and was immediately dealt in for what was to be the next to last hand of triple draw. Now keep in mind I didn't know any of these guys and was still shaking hands getting names and stuff when I get dealt my first hand and behold:


If you're not familiar with triple draw, the idea is to make the worst 5 card poker hand. It's called deuce to seven triple draw because the worst hand you can make (and therefore the best hand in this game) is 75432. You get three draws to make your hand, and there are four rounds of betting with the the amount doubling for rounds 3 and 4 (just like limit hold 'em). Anyway, that hand I've got there is a verifiable monster. I stick in a raise and some action happens, and Joker is still hanging out behind me on sweat patrol and audibly gasps when he sees me draw the 6 to make a pat 76542 after a single draw. I bet and to be honest I don't remember the action, all I know is that it gets headsup between me and one of the poker cast bigwig guys who drew four on the last round (obviously he's just having some fun). I pat, he draws like 3 more or something absurd, and I then we go 7 bets on the turn. Seven. After he puts in the 4 bet he says "you're really not gonna like this", and after he 6 bets I almost lose my nerve but stick in the 7 bet and he just calls. We both "pat the river" obviously and he calls my last bet and shows that he actually made a smoothish 8 after two draws of 4 and 3 cards. Remember, this is my first hand at the table (my chips were delivered while the cards were in the air) and I realize, rather embarrassed, that my hands are shaking as I try to stack up the mountain of $1 chips in front of me.

All in all there were many good times over the next three hours. We were right by the bar and most of the table was drinking heavily (the poker cast crew had a tab and was paying for everything....believe it or not I am still successfully on the no drinking plan since week 1 of the NFL season) and everyone was slinging chips into the pot as if you could buy more racks for only $100 a piece. It was actually a struggle for me to play enough hands not to look like a nit (as a former live grinder I have an incredible ability to sit at a casino and pass on hands....most of these guys were, I believe, internet players), but I managed sort of OK. I got into a few pots I definitely shouldn't have, made some questionable call downs (actually saying to Bellatrix at one point "OK, I'll just give you $12) and in general ran like ass after my initial win. I did win one of the $20 PLO flips, but despite that and the monster pot I already dragged, I still eventually left the game down about a rack (the round of "no folding preflop" omaha 8 or better put a pretty big dent in my stack). It was well worth it, though, because I formulated my theory of 2nd best hold 'em which I am about to share with all of you.

First, the rules for those of you that don't know are simple. After river betting completes, everyone turns over his/her cards and the pot is pushed to the second best hand (you have to make your best hand if you have a 1 card flush you can't decide not to play it and instead claim 3 high because then you'd need showdown order to determine who won and since this game is only ever played by drunken professional poker players that would just be unacceptable). That's all there is to it. The catch is that NOBODY knows what they are doing. At all. My theory used to be to try to get the pot heads up and make the nut low, and that worked out OK for me for a while, but my new theory is much much simpler. Call all bets (or even put in some raises if you want) with any cards that don't flop a hand you'd be happy about in real hold 'em. Proceed to the river, and then check/raise. People will throw their hands up in the air, be extremely confused, and generally do something silly like throw their hand away. Really at that point so long as you don't have like top pair or something, it's pretty random who's going to win the hand (so long as there are like 4+ people getting to the river, like in this game), and if you knock a few people out, your chances probably go up tremendously. So that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

And and update on, you know, playing poker online for a's going about as well as could be expected, which leaves me making really not enough money. Things had sort of turned around at 3/6 this morning, but this afternoon I blew back a bunch of bets and am sitting at a winrate in the game of .4 bets per 100. I'm cruising along at 2/4 at 1.5 bets per 100, and 5/T I still only have 1700 hands (the game doesn't go as often) and have lost 17 bets. Overall I've played 30,900 hands, and HEM reports that it's taken me about 95 hours to do so (this is a little misleading, as it records the time from when I fire up my first table until the time I close my last there are a few minutes on the front and back of each session where really not much is going on). That means I'm playing over 300 hands per hour, which I guess is good. Honestly I don't really know. The most terrifying number is that I have paid $3200 in rake, or roughly $10 per 100 hands. At the end of the day, it's working out that about half of my winnings are coming from my 27% rakeback. I'm enjoying myself so far, but for this to work as a long term solution I really am going to have to beat bigger games.

Friday, November 12, 2010

[x] Black Card

Today I achieved Black Card Status on Full Tilt. What does this get me, you ask? Not a whole lot....basically double rewards points which were previously nearly useless, and the ability to spend them on cash bonuses which are convenient but a slightly worse deal that tournament tickets if I'm not mistaken (that doesn't account for the time it takes to actually play a tournament, or the fact that I'd likely be a losing player in the ones I played, so actually I guess the bonii are somewhat useful). There has been a lot of hooting and hollering on the internet about this new way of doing things at Full Tilt, and my general research indicates the following. I could be wrong about all this, but I'd have to be off by a fair bit for it to be correct for me to switch over to Stars.

1. It's slightly easier to achieve Supernova on Stars than maintain Black Card status for a full year.

2. It's still a better deal to play on Full Tilt unless you can achieve Supnova Elite status on Stars, which takes a metric ass ton of hands (a million points in a year, and 6 points to the table for every dollar raked, so roughly speaking....I mean a lot of freaking hands).

In other news I am getting much better at internet poker. I realized I had been over adjusting and kind of tilting at the same time. Once I started to lose, I started making just absurd call downs, justifying them by saying "It's the internet everyone bluffs all the time!" That attitude isn't really accurate. Sure a lot of people bluff, but different player types do it in different (and fairly predictable) ways. Like if a loose passive fish does the old check/call check/raise he still usually has the nuts. Really the key is figuring out who you're dealing with and what his raise is likely to mean, then making a decision (this is super duper obvious I know but the salient point for me is that the array of player types I'm dealing with now is much larger than the one I had to contend with live 20/40, basically everyone is loose/passive). My first week ended on a rough note, but so far in 12 days I have played 25K hands and am showing a total win rate of 1.05 big bets per 100. I'm back above water in 3/6, and am close to break even in 5/T, and am still obliterating the 2/4 games. It's actually a pretty simple way to make a not that great living so far, but if I can crank up the stakes and volume just a little over the coming weeks it will really make sense to make the switch permanently.

And finally, I'm actually "going out tonight", where "out" is "The Bike" and "tonight" is basically the middle of the afternoon. Maybe I'll see some of you there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Games Are Fair to Middling

Even after I checked my note on the guy, which read "batshit pyscho do not fold" and added a new line "never never never ever fold", I was still impressed.

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Limit Hold'em - 5 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter By DeucesCracked Poker Videos

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is SB with Q 8
1 fold, CO calls, BTN calls, Hero calls, BB raises, CO calls, BTN calls, Hero calls

Flop: (8 SB) 4 8 3 (4 players)
Hero checks, BB bets, CO calls, BTN calls, Hero raises, BB 3-bets, CO folds, BTN calls, Hero calls

Turn: (9 BB) 8 (3 players)
Hero checks, BB bets, BTN calls, Hero raises, BB 3-bets, BTN folds, Hero caps!, BB calls

River: (18 BB) 2 (2 players)
Hero bets, BB raises all in, Hero calls

Final Pot: 20.5 BB
Hero shows Q 8 (three of a kind, Eights)
BB shows 6 A (a pair of Eights)
Hero wins 19.75 BB
(Rake: $3.00)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Perhaps the Most Astounding Thing I Have Ever Seen

I have seen some shit in my life. Yeah yeah, I'm not even 30 (thank goodness) and haven't really been at poker very long, but still I have seen some incredible things. What I am about to show you trumps pretty much all of it. I was playing online when one of my bestest buddies sat down immediately to my right. After playing with him for a few hundred more hands and just sitting slack jawed in awe of his talents, I decided I had to know; I looked him up on PokerTableRatings. I knew I was going to see something awesome. I wasn't prepared for this:

Look at it's smoothness! There are almost no bumps, no dips, nothing whatsoever standing in the way of the direct march to oblivion. To go along with this amazing graph there are some cold, stark numbers. He's played 96K hands and lost $48K, at a rate of over 5 big bets per 100. I once speculated with Pete about just how much the biggest of the big fish in our 20 games lose. We hemmed and hawed, but came to something like consensus that 3 big bets per hour was probably about as much as you could lose. So I got to thinking that this guy isn't even really lose that much, so surely there must be a bigger fish out there, right? Sure enough, my truly bestest friend on all of the internet sat down at my table, reminding me of his existence and forcing me to instantly look him up on PTR. If there are children in the room, you should cover their eyes now:

Behold! I give to you one of the most amazing fish in the history of internet poker. The numbers....213K hands, $87K lost at a rate of nine (9) big bets per 100. The line just...goes...straight...down. What is this guy telling himself? How is he justifying to continue to play? The lion's share of his losses (over $60K) have come at 2/4 and 3/6 limited bet hold them. That is all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Warning: Contains Poker-Like Substance

Just barely. This is one of those "well what am I going to do with the next 45 minutes" posts where I trick myself into believing that writing my blog actually counts as being productive. LOL, that really shouldn't be the case, but whatever, my poker synapses are shot for the day and I really shouldn't be playing anymore, so at least in that sense writing these words is productive. In no particular order....

It really is hard not to check your results. Like I got a seat at a table and saw my account balance and it was "whoa where'd the money go" low and then all of a sudden I was loading up my graph for the day and just wow it's kinda tough. And now I feel like shit because I lost and well yeah I guess I just really need to try harder.

I'm finding it difficult to stay productive because I don't always have ready access to a bunch of games. I'm being pretty selective where I'll sit, and it means I'm ending up spending a good deal of time 3 or 4 tabling, which really isn't enough. Like I said at the beginning, for this to be even close to a valid option for me I have to have no problem logging 3000 or so hands a day. So far in 9 attempts I've only cracked that number once (my first day). Like today I spent almost no time studying, didn't watch a video, and still only played 2200 hands. Where did all the time go? I just don't know....I've been awake for almost 13 hours and might have watched 20 minutes of TV....I guess I need to be more diligent keeping on task, but like I said it's tough.

I'm considering putting in some play on other sites, if for no reason than to eliminate the problem of not playing at max capacity.

Since I looked at my results I know the following things to be true. I have played almost 19000 hands. I have destroyed the 2/4 games for over 2 big bets per 100 over about 8000 hands, and have lost .5 big bets per 100 in the 3/6 games over 9000 hands. I have played 1350 hands of 5/T and of course gotten obliterated , and actually played a few hundred hands of 1/2 (both the regular games and rush poker just for fun) and crushed it. Overall I have won .57 bets per 100, meaning that I'm up something like 100 big bets. Unfortunately since, as usual, I have run well in small games and poorly in big games, I am basically break even over the 9 days before rakeback. And actually if I put in a filter for 7 handed or more things get even worse (with me being $300 to the red despite winning .2 bets per 100 overall), so apparently short-handed play has actually been going well.

Ah rakeback....I have paid almost $2000 in rake over the 19000 hands, which in theory means I should be getting back something like 27% of that. Full tilt now uses the "weighted contributed" method to calculate how much you get instead of the "dealt" method, which I'm sure is costing me a ton of money but since I don't really have numbers from before I don't really know. For those interested....the dealt method is simply that. If 9 people are dealt in and $1 is raked, each is given 11.11 cents in raked credit towards their manager account. The contributed method is based on how much you put in the pot. If the final pot is $100 and the rake is $3, that $3 credit is divided in proportion to who put the money into the pot. If I put in $30, I get 30% of the $3 credit. If you just put in your $2 blind, you get 2% of the credit. It's more "fair" but people are pissed off yada yada yada. I noticed this before, but the 3/6 games are raked harder in big bets per 100 than the 2/4 games (that is to say that there is more than 50% more rake even though the game is only 50% bigger). My numbers show this to be clearly the case, and are even skewed towards paying MORE rake at 2/4 because I have actually won (and therefore likely won more pots) while at 3/6 after rake I am underwater. Anyway, it's kind of scary to think about, but basically I have broke even over the entire 19000 hands, but full tilt has made almost $2000 off me. Aiyah. Come to think of it I don't know how HEM is calculating these numbers as they aren't in whole dollar increments....which is odd. I'll try and figure that out later.

I guess that's really about it. Basically I'm getting crushed at 3/6 and 5/T and am not really sure why. Today it was actually comical the beats I was taking....several times I paid off knowing exactly what hand I was going to see, to the point that I began to think maybe I was playing badly. Then of course I'd pick off a few three street bluffs and remember where I was and that folding really wasn't as good of a plan as it is in my live games. Anyway, I guess that's about all for now. I was planning to write about the Steelers and fantasy football and some other interesting things, but my fingers are tired.